Image source: Ensco.
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The stock market eased downward on Monday, but major market benchmarks finished quite close to an unchanged level. Declines for the Dow and S&P 500 didn't take the two popular indexes far below their recent all-time highs, and investors generally seemed content to let the vacation-heavy month of August continue to generate mild trading activity without substantial volatility. However, falling oil prices led to downward pressure in the commodities markets, and that helped to produce some of the losses within the energy and natural resources sectors of the stock market. In particular, Ensco (NYSE: ESV), Endeavour Silver (NYSE: EXK), and Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ: IEP) performed weakly to begin the trading week.
Ensco deals with energy's decline
Ensco fell 6%, largely in response to the day's trading in the oil futures pits. Crude oil prices fell more than 3% to finish below $47.50 per barrel, and the U.K.-based offshore drilling specialist has had to deal with the dual difficulties of low oil prices and a weak British pound following the nation's Brexit vote to leave the European Union. Even though oil prices have rebounded from their recent lows, they nevertheless remain insufficient to justify the massive expenditure on offshore drilling exploration that took place when crude traded above the $100 per barrel mark. The company also had to deal with the termination of a contract last week from one of its customers, and although Ensco will receive 75% of the negotiated day rate for the remaining term, it's unclear whether it will be able to recoup all of its lost revenue by finding another user. Until energy rebounds more sharply, Ensco will have trouble gaining positive momentum.
Endeavour Silver looks a little tarnished
Endeavour Silver also declined 6%, and commodity-related action was also to blame for the silver miner's descent. After having climbed above the $20 per ounce mark last month for the first time since 2014, the white metal has recently fallen back downward, closing below $19 per ounce on Monday. Investors in Endeavour have praised the company's turnaround strategy, which led the miner to post a small profit of $1.7 million in its most recent second-quarter financial results. However, if silver prices can't sustain their recent gains, then the brief profit could give way to further losses for Endeavour Silver in the near future, and that's the last thing investors want to see.
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Icahn Enterprises can't stop falling
Finally, Icahn Enterprises dropped 5%. The investment vehicle for billionaire investor Carl Icahn has lost a sixth of its value in the past four trading days, with skeptics pointing to the premium prices of the company's limited partnership units compared to the intrinsic value of the partnership's underlying assets. In addition to valuation-based arguments, some investors also point to the fact that Icahn's hedge fund hasn't been performing as well as it has in past years, and the limited partnership's direct ownership of various underlying businesses has suffered poor results as well. With a substantial short position, Icahn hasn't benefited as much as other investors from the record run in the stock market, and a lack of transparency has also contributed to the downward pressure on the partnership's unit prices.
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